What is structured workplace learning?

Structured workplace learning provides students with the opportunity to integrate practical on-the-job experience and learnings in industry with nationally recognised Vocational Education and Training (VET) undertaken as part of either the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) or the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL), VCE Industry and Enterprise or VCAL units. It provides the context for:

  • enhanced skill development
  • practical application of industry knowledge
  • assessment of units of competency
  • achievement of some learning outcomes for VCE studies or VCAL units,
  • enhanced employment opportunities

Principles of quality structured workplace learning

Quality structured workplace learning is integrated into a program that operates within:

  • a framework which provides the opportunity for all students to access it (though not all students may choose to do so)
  • the context of vocational courses which are recognised by industry, are responsive to industry needs, and form part of a student’s exit credentials

Quality workplace learning is structured, in that it:

  • has a clearly articulated and documented purpose
  • has clearly identified and documented learning outcomes for students within accredited programs which are linked to post-school qualifications
  • is of sufficient duration and depth to enable students to acquire a reasonable understanding of the enterprise/industry to be able to demonstrate competence according to industry standards of at least Level 1 of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF)
  • matches students’ skills and interests with the structured training
  • thoroughly prepares students, teachers and employers beforehand so that expectations and outcomes of the structured workplace learning are clearly understood by all parties

Quality structured workplace learning is monitored, in that:

  • the learning is coordinated by staff with appropriate expertise and adequate resources
  • support is available to students and employers throughout the course of the structured workplace learning

Quality structured workplace learning is regulated, to ensure that:

  • the health, education and moral and material welfare of students is protected
  • students work in a non-discriminatory and harassment free environment
  • students receive appropriate training and instruction in occupational health and safety (OHS)
  • students are not exploited by being continuously engaged in a production or service capacity, or being used to substitute for the employment of employees or the engagement of contractors and payment of appropriate wages or fees for service
  • students understand the roles and responsibilities of employees in the workplace and are expected to follow reasonable directions of their supervisors and other employees

Quality structured workplace learning is assessed, so that:

  • students’ competencies achieved in the workplace are measured against industry standards, and contribute to the overall assessment of the program
  • there are mechanisms for recording and reporting of students’ competencies

Benefits of structured workplace learning

Benefits for students

The benefits of structured workplace learning for students include:

  • improved understanding of the work environment and employers’ expectations
  • exposure to the world-of-work
  • increased self-understanding, maturity, independence and self-confidence, especially in the workplace
  • increased motivation to continue study and/or undertake further training
  • enhanced opportunities for part-time and casual employment
  • opportunity to develop and gain work-related competencies
  • opportunity to acquire skills relevant to the workplace
  • opportunity to try out career choices before leaving school
  • opportunity to develop contacts with potential employers
  • opportunity to demonstrate mastery of specific skills and competencies related to the accredited course which they are undertaking
  • opportunity to undertake relevant courses which count towards the student’s exit credential and articulate into further education and training

Benefits for schools

The benefits of structured workplace learning for schools include:

  • improved knowledge and understanding of changing work environments
  • a positive relationship between the school, local community and industry
  • opportunity to work collaboratively with parents/carers in their child’s schooling
  • providing a relevant curriculum which helps students develop skills for life-long learning

Benefits for parents/carers

The benefits of structured workplace learning for parents/carers include:

  • opportunity to discuss with their child the topic of work, including their own previous and current experiences
  • opportunity to positively contribute to their child’s secondary education
  • opportunity for family involvement in discussions about further education, training and employment

Benefits for employers

The benefits of structured workplace learning for employers include:

  • opportunity for involvement in the education and development of students
  • opportunity to contribute to the development of entry level skills in industry
  • opportunity to promote to young people the career potential of their industry
  • opportunity to develop the training and supervisory skills of employees
  • opportunity for employers to mentor young people in their career decision-making
  • opportunity to create dialogue with teachers on aspects of work readiness and other matters related to work
  • building industry-school partnerships that provide for local community needs and endeavours
  • encouraging students to become involved with businesses in their local community

Benefits for the community

The benefits of structured workplace learning for the community include:

  • provision of links between Local Learning and Employment Networks, local government, industry, unions, and education and training providers, to maximise employment and training outcomes for young people
  • involvement of schools, training organisations and communities in collaborative projects
  • opportunity for young people to become actively involved in building the local community, especially in regional and rural areas
Overview of the Structured Workplace Learning Guidelines, outlining the meaning and principles of structured workplace learning and the benefits of offering structured workplace learning in schools

Reviewed 27 May 2020

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